South Sudan President Salva Kiir Thursday appointed cabinet ministers to the much-awaited transitional government of national unity as part of peace deal to end more than two years of civil war.
Kiir announced the formation of the transitional cabinet on state television and radio on Thursday evening after former rebel leader and former Vice-President Riek Machar had submitted the list of his 10 ministerial nominees.
Kiir's loyalists take 16 ministerial appointments, while the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by Machar holds 10 ministerial posts. The other four posts are designated to former political detainees and other political parties.
The ex-rebels took the prominent cabinet dockets of the petroleum and mining ministry as well as the interior ministry. Kiir’s supporters hold the finance and defence ministries.
Meanwhile, surprise appointments included Garang De Mabior, son of the late founding leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, to the ministry of energy and ex-rebel leader of the nascent Cobra faction David Yau Yau to the junior defence ministry.
The appointment of the 30-member cabinet came two days after Machar returned to the capital to expedite the formation of the transitional government.
Fighting broke out between Kiir and Machar supporters in the capital in 2013 after Kiir sacked Machar as first vice president. The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than two million people from their homes.
Dr Alic Garang, Ebony Centre for Strategic Studies researcher, a South Sudanese think-tank, said the two parties will disagree at some point on crucial issues, but will have to seek consensus through cabinet and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission – the body monitoring the South Sudan peace deal.
“They should work as a team to call on the international community for financial assistance,” Dr Garang said.
He added that the transitional government will have to seek ways to control expenditure as a huge government awaits them and they should prioritise revamping of the fragile economy badly hit by decades of conflict.